EGO bows out

Apr 10 2023 | By More

Fat lady sings for Edinburgh Grand Opera

The charity running Scotland’s oldest opera company, the Edinburgh Grand Opera, is to be wound up at its own request, having failed to come through Covid unscathed.

The opera company announced the news today, Monday 10 April 2023, on its social media and website, stating that the Office of the Scottish Charity Register “gives consent to your proposal to dissolve Edinburgh Grand Opera”.

Ivor Klayman as Dulcamara in the 2015 production of L’elisir d’amore at the Church Hill Theatre. Photo: Vikki McCraw Photography

First indications of its difficulties followed the company’s AGM in 2022, after which it announced that it had suffered badly during Covid with no sponsorship or grants available to offset its costs. Chorus numbers were so low that it was unable to form a committee to take the company forward.

After reassessing the situation with its Friends and Patrons, an EGM was held in November 2022 to consider a motion to bring Edinburgh Grand Opera to a close.

The company made its debut in 1955 with a performance of Bizet’s Carmen at the Usher Hall and celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with a production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at the Church Hill Theatre in 2015.

The company had a democratic constitution, with membership given to its amateur chorus members, who then appointed its council and office bearers who took decisions on their behalf.

Over the years the company employed many up and coming professional directors, MDs and soloists to augment the amateur chorus. Most recently it worked with Kally Lloyd-Jones of Company Chordelia as its director.

major works

EGO staged full works and semi-staged productions in venues around Edinburgh. It was the first amateur company to stage a show at the Festival Theatre and also performed at The King’s Theatre, The Queens Hall and the Lyceum.

Besides works from the main repertoire, EGO explored more diverse operas, including the UK premiere of Ricci’s lost opera La Prigione di Edimburgo in 2011 and the Scottish premiere of Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street in 2006.

The company’s final full production was pre-Covid, with Mascigni’s Cavalleria Rusticana at the Church Hill Theatre in March 2019. A year later, it was forced to abandon plans for Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci in May 2020 at the same venue.

The un-signed statement published today said in full:

“Sadly, but with an armful of happy memories and lasting friendships, I have to formally announce the winding-up of Edinburgh Grand Opera on 29 March 2023 by OSCR.

“‘I hereby give notice that the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) gives consent to your proposal to dissolve Edinburgh Grand Opera (SC003143).’

“Thank you to all those who have been in touch recalling their own memories and experiences of performing with EGO over the years.”


Edinburgh Grand Opera Website:
Facebook Page: @edinburghgrandopera


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